Arguably one of the best-ever guards to come out of New Zealand, and certainly one of the proudest to wear a Tall Black singlet and lace up any pair of basketball shoes, Lindsay Tait has announced that season number 19 will be his last at NBL level.

Having already retired from a decorated 13-year career for the Tall Blacks in 2016, Tait has made the decision to call time on his career in the Sals NBL, with this year set to be his swansong on NBL courts around the country.

Current Tall Blacks Head Coach and a former team mate of Tait in the national team, Paul Henare did not hold back when referencing Tait and his mana in the game.

"LT has had a long and impressive career and should go down as one of the all-time greats to ever play the game in this country.

"Ever since he tore up the secondary schools scene for Avondale College he has left his mark. The fact he was able to win multiple NBL titles across 15 or so years with different teams speaks of his competitive nature and ability to perform on the big stage.

"He always represented New Zealand with great pride and I was impressed with how well he used his experience to become one of the most integral leaders towards his later years. After all his time in the game I imagine we will be seeing plenty more of him as he begins to make positive impressions with his coaching ability."

Tait made his debut back in 2000 for the Auckland Stars, and success came quickly for the teenager, winning the first of his seven NBL titles.

At close to 64", Tait is tall for a point guard and his combination of speed and size made him a difficult opponent to defend, while that same range gave him an edge when without the ball.

Taits signature hesitation dribble allowed him to get into the paint at will, and quickly he became one of the best scorers in the competition, averaging over 20 points per game though the 2004-2007 seasons with the Stars. In 2005 Tait was also named Most Valuable player of the competition with a career best 24 points per game.

After a successful eight seasons with the Stars which included titles in 2004 and 2005, Tait joined the Wellington Saints in 2008, playing seven of his next eight seasons in the Capital city, leading the franchise to three more titles. Tait briefly returned home in 2012 to guide the Auckland Pirates to one title.

In 2013, Tait won his second MVP award averaging 20.1 points and 8.1 assists and was gunning for his fourth consecutive NBL title. But after suffering a thumb injury later in the season, Tait had to miss the last few games of the regular season. He was rushed back for the semi-final, but the Saints were upset by Southland Sharks, who then went on to win the title.

Taits competitive greatness showed the following season however, bouncing back from the shock loss the season before to lead the Saints to the championship in 2014

After going back and forth between Wellington and Auckland, Tait decided in 2015 to return for good to his hometown Auckland where he could spend more time with sons Mikaere and Marley.

Tait joined the Supercity Rangers, leading the franchise to their first ever grand-final in 2016.

In recent times Tait has overcome personal adversity with the courage and humility typical of the man, fighting a battle with cancer and doing so away from the glare of the public eye and without fuss. Tait underwent extensive surgery in late 2017 to remove his thyroid gland and with it the cancer that had spread to his lymph nodes.

It was with that battle in mind that Tait made the decision to return to the floor this year with the 2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers. It was a chance to, once again, show his two young boys and others that while life might knock you down every now and then, the important thing is to get up and continue the good fight.

Tait is currently at 290 career games (prior to this weekends game against the Manawatu Jets). Many in the game will hope that Taits famous number 4 will join fellow NBL greats and former Tall Black team mates such as Phill Jones, Pero Cameron and current team mate Dillon Boucher, in reaching the 300-game milestone in this, his last campaign.

NBL Career

- NBL Debut: 2000

- NBL Seasons: 19th season (2018)

- NBL Games: 290

- NBL Titles: 7 (2000, 04, 05 with Auckland Stars, 2012 Auckland Pirates, 2010, 11, 14 Wellington Saints)

- Stats: 4943 points (17ppg), 1038 rebounds, 1533 assists, 416 steals

- Awards: 7 x NZNBL Champion: 2000, 2004, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014

o 3 x NZNBL Finals MVP: 2010, 2011, 2014

o 3 x NZNBL MVP: 2005, 2010, 2013

o 3 x NZNBL NZ MVP: 2005, 2013, 2015

o 7 x NZNBL Most Outstanding Guard: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

o 9 x NZNBL Most Outstanding Kiwi Guard: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015

o 3 x NZNBL Assist Champion: 2010, 2013, 2015

o 9 x NZNBL All-Star 5: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Lindsay Tait Tall Blacks Career Summary

Tait made his international debut in 2003 for the Tall Blacks and was a member of the 2006 Commonwealth Games side that won the silver medal in Melbourne. In 2009, Tait was the starting point guard for the New Zealand team that defeated the Australian Boomers on their way to winning the FIBA Oceania Championship. Tait participated in the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey and was a member of the first ever New Zealand side to win the Stanković Cup in 2011 in China, repeating the feat again in 2015. He went on to play for New Zealand at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and 2015 FIBA Oceania Championship. Tait retired from international play in 2016.

A letter from LT:

I would like to thank my parents for a lifetime of sacrifice they have made for me that words cant express my true appreciation. Thank you for my dad for teaching me the love of the game & damn near everything else that comes with it.

I would like to thank my sons for the sacrifices they were forced to make in allowing their father to be away from home so often, not only in an effort to keep a roof over their head but to chase my hoop dreams.

On Oct. 9, 2017, I underwent a seven-hour surgery to remove my entire thyroid gland of the cancer it contained that had gotten into my lymph nodes. I must thank my angel / surgeon Kevin Smith for giving me a second chance at life. My girl Brooke Watt. You faced my mortality with me & never wavered. I can never thank you enough. You were the first one there when I opened my eyes.

Thank you to ALL my coaches, teammates, front office & support staff who Ive been to war with over the years. Too many to name but you know who you are. The brothers.

I have nothing left to prove in the NZNBL. The sole reason I decided to play this year is to show my sons that when life knocks you down you have two choices. You stay down, or you get back up.

We get back up. I will always compete to win but just being able to play competitive basketball still is a blessing so many of us take for granted.

I walk away from competitive play at peace. I will miss my teammates & the competition most of all but it is now my duty to give back so much that has been given to me. Its the circle of life. From the brothers at Youthtown who beat me down & taught me to be tough to the bright lights of the international stage, it is my turn to give back these teachings & help NZ keep producing the likes of the next Shea ili.

The Basketball Auckland Talent Accelerator Programme I lead is now active. This is an additional skills-based training layer for representative level athletes U13-19 to workout & learn in a challenging environment. For enquiries contact: brent@absl.co.nz

I plan on spending my days coaching our youth & watching my family grow.

Much love

LT

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Basketball New Zealand